Page 1


news An example of God’s grace...in tangible form Churches throughout the Boise, Idaho-area are offering to pay people’s parking tickets to show how easy it is to receive God’s grace and forgiveness. On December 12, church members plan to gather in front of Boise City Hall and offer to pay up to $10,000 in delinquent

briefs

parking tickets. Montie Ralstin, lead pastor of Boise Valley Christian Communion, says the initiative is called the “Grace Gift Parable.” “One of the things that’s difficult [for some people] to understand... about grace is that they feel like they have to do something to earn that grace, or to earn a place of worthiness with God,” Ralstin shares. “And...we know, as believers, [that] God’s grace is granted to us unconditionally.”

A Fresh Word News - December 2009

The pastor explains they aren’t rewarding parking violations. “We understand it’s [a reflection of] bad behavior,” he says, “but God takes us with our bad behavior and still forgives us even when we sin -- and that’s what this is a picture of. “God’s grace -- you do nothing to earn this; it’s just a gift, it’s a free gift that you get, just like salvation is, but you have to ask,” he continues. “So the people who come to have their parking tickets paid, they have to ask us.” Ralstin says the outreach will give people a chance to hear the gospel.

Catholic bishop goes extra mile on abortion issue

2

to allegations made about him that are untrue, and [he] is...now making it clear to the entire country that individual politicians like Patrick Kennedy who defy church teaching must not receive Holy C o m mu n i o n -- and that’s a good thing.” Kennedy has not made clear how or when Tobin informed him of his decision, and Brown adds that discussions between a bishop and an errant member of the church are best handled privately, not through the media. She further believes that Bishop Tobin is simply doing his job of trying to save a soul. “The bishop has taken this opportunity to do something that no other bishop has done,” notes Brown. “He has made lemonade out of a lemon, and I think that’s wonderful.” An injunction similar to Bishop Tobin’s took place in 2003 when Bishop Raymond Burke chose to deny Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin the same privilege because of his mixed voting record on the abortion issue. Catholic bishops’ denying communion to church members is not an action from which they are restricted, but it is one that is unusual. Furthermore, withholding communion is considered an unfortunate penalty for any Catholic Church member, but not as serious as that of excommunication.

Congressman Patrick Kennedy claims he’s been denied communion in the Roman Catholic Church because of his support for abortion. Over a three-year period, Bishop Thomas Tobin has had an exchange with Kennedy (D-Rhode Island), and the only remaining public official in the nation’s most prominent Catholic family recently stated publicly that the bishop had instructed him not to take communion. Judie Brown of the American Life League comments on the situation. “Why Kennedy has picked this particular time to go A F W N , P.O. Box 4153, Modesto, CA 95352, (209) 543-9100 public with all this, I afreshwordnews@sbcglobal.net Writer, Photographer do not know,” Brown Publisher, Director of Sales & Advertisment: Roberson states. “But I think that K.Desktop Publisher/Graphic Designer: even under fire, Bishop D. Roberson Writers: To Be Announced Tobin has proven to be Contributing A Fresh Word News, Inc., is a subsidiary of K.D.&I, Inc., and is a monthly newspaper. someone who is not christian-based All advertising, subject matter, form, wording and illustrations shall be subject to going to back away from approval by the publisher. publisher reserves the right to refuse any adverstisement and editorial copy controversy [and] is in The subjmitted for publication. fact going to respond Views expressed in A Fresh Word News are those of their respective writers resh

ord

ews

and are not necessarily held by the publisher.


This Month’s Fresh Word

Written by Matthew Rogers

I

This morning we’re going to use the last book – the book of Revelation -to gain some perspective on the birth of Jesus. The text is Revelation 22.

t’s tough to miss Christmas if you live in America today. Just about anyone with a pulse can tell you what time of year it is. We hear the ads on the radio and TV, see the lighted houses and buildings, the decorated yards in our neighborhoods, the displays inside every store make sure we don’t forget, and even the banners at that scroll across the top of the Internet search engines are there to remind us Christmas is coming in case we’ve missed all the other signs. The clues many times are there to tell us simply – be prepared. Don’t get caught without just the right gift – the right decorations – the right treats and goodies – the right wardrobe accessories. But what amazes me about all the hype and fanfare leading up to Christmas today is the pardoxical picture it paints when set alongside the world of Christmas Eve a little over 2000 years ago. Who, do you think was fully prepared for Christmas #1? Were the stores that day full of last-minute shoppers in search of holiday gifts? Were the huts and houses decked out with twinkling décor? Were the theaters and houses of worship offering special shows and musicals? Did anxious children find it hard to sleep that night? My guess is the answer to all the above is “No.” But the first Christmas was not without its own signals and signs dating back a few centuries. The prophets had predicted a coming Savior, the Messiah, who would be born of a virgin, from the ancestral line of David, born in Bethlehem – all Jews, even the marginally religious – had known such things from the time they were toddlers. And yet on the eve of the very first Christmas business pretty much went along as usual for most. People came home from work and cleaned up for dinner. Children played in the dusty streets until time for bed. Spouses rolled over and gave good night kisses before turning out the light. Ho-hum, life goes on. Except, perhaps, for those who still had yet to comply with that crazy census. The one Caesar had ordered. For those who still needed to register, their minds were occupied with getting to their home-town, if they didn’t still live in it, filling out the necessary documents and going home. One young couple arrived in Bethlehem on just such a mission. SEE here I come, pg. 7


news

global

A Fresh Word News - December 2009

4


5

news

A Fresh Word News - December 2009

Audio Bible took four years, 600 actors to record Written by Audrey Barrick, Christian Post

TENNESSEE--JoBe Cerny, most famous for being the voice of the Pillsbury Doughboy, was on one recent rainy morning sitting in a studio at his Cerny/American Creative, a production company/recording studio on Illinois Street in Chicago. He was drinking coffee and nibbling at some doughnuts and listening to the voice of Jesus Christ as he died on the cross. “Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?” he said. Well, in a word: Yes. Jesus’ voice was actually the voice of actor Jim Caviezel, one of the hundreds of voices that are part of one of the most ambitious audio projects in history. The Word of Promise Audio Bible is the King James Bible in its entirety: a 79-CD set of more than 98 hours of dramatic audio theater, with an original score by Stefano Mainetti, feature film quality sound effects,

narration by Michael York and the work of about 600 actors, including such stars as Richard Dreyfuss (Moses), Gary Sinise (David), Marisa Tomei (Mary Magdalene), Stacy Keach (Paul), Louis Gossett Jr. (John), Joan Allen (Deborah), Max von Sydow (Noah) and Luke Perry (Judas). Martin Jarvis, a relatively unknown British actor, had what was perhaps the most daunting part: He plays God. Cerny also recruited a number of Chicago-area actors to participate, among them David Pasquesi. “JoBe is just a great guy and terrific director,” says Pasquesi, who plays many small parts and has known Cerny for many years. “He set the scene, gave the background for even the tiniest part, provided the motivation. All of that was essential. You could tell how deeply his heart and head were in this. ”‘Passion Of Christ’ Inspired Project.

JoBe Cerny

It began four years ago when Cerny was approached by an old Chicago friend, Carl Amari, a moviemaker and radio show producer. “I just never thought this would take four years,” says Amari, who got the idea when visiting his friend Caviezel on the set of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. “There have been other audio versions of the Bible, most featuring one voice, like James Earl Jones. This was to be something vastly different.” He started recruiting other actors, but there was one man

Bishop Thomas W. Weeks III Married New Soul Mate

for the job of director. “JoBe is one of the greatest radio guys there is. He did all the sound design on (the Amari-produced syndicated radio show) The Twilight Zone,” he says. “He gets all the credit for this. He’s the one who lived with it every day for four years.” The first part of the project appeared in 2007 with The World of Promise New Testament Audio Bible, a mere 20-CD/21-hour package. It was awarded the Christian Book of SEE audio, pg. 15

“God has blessed me with an awesome man of God, a prophet, a king — I appreciate you.” Christina Glenn, a Self-Described Prophetess Weeks, the head of Global Destiny Worldwide, an international church empire, decided to keep his nuptials private, inviting only his church family and friends instead of the media spotlight that followed him during the stormy break-up of his marriage to Pentecostal pastor Juanita Bynum in 2008. The newlyweds are now on their honeymoon in an undisclosed location. Weeks and Glenn are fea-

tured on Global Destiny’s church Web site, bishopweeks.com, discussing their marriage plans and gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes. “I am so glad that God has given me you, Prophetess Christina Glenn, as the greatest gift in my life besides himself,” Weeks tells his fiancé. “He couldn’t have made a better choice.” Weeks describes Glenn -- who like Bynum has a ministry of her own -- as

loyal and caring. Glenn stands with a broad smile and a huge red flower on her jacket pledging her love to Weeks. “I love you so much,” she says. “God has blessed me with an awesome man of God, a prophet, a king — I appreciate you.”

global Scholar: Churches Can Use Internet to Reach Non-Seekers

The Internet is not only useful for churches in communicating with seekers, but it can also be harnessed to reach people not actively looking for answers, says a Danish scholar. Peter Fischer-Nielsen, a Ph.D Fellow at the Faculty of Theology at Aarhus University in Denmark, recognizes the difficulty churches have in reaching non-seekers in real life and on the World Wide Web. Non-seekers are often not interested in visiting Christian Web sites, but churches can still meet them by going to their Web turf. “[T]he church must not isolate itself on its own Web sites; instead, it must take part in the fluent online traffic and develop initiatives on various platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Wikipedia,” says Fischer-Nielsen in an article entitled, “Online Mission,” in the latest issue of Lausanne World Pulse. Fischer-Nielsen, who is researching church communication on the Internet, wrote that the mission of the Church is to reach the world with the Gospel message. The Internet allows the Church to enlarge its reach to anywhere in the world where there is Internet, including in countries hostile to Christianity, he said. So churches need to be technologically savvy and create Web sites that can be found through popular search engines such as Google, as well as create an online presence on growingly popular social networking sites. Some Christian ministries have reported much evangelism success after using the Internet to find seekers. Campus Crusade for Christ’s SEE internet, pg. 15


conferences & Events

A Fresh Word News - December 2009

6

How do women in ministry with families give Remember their best to their calling and their family? Dr. Martin How can they find balance?

Women in ministry face the unique challenge of finding themselves in a profession that historically has insisted upon sacrifice, submission, selflessness of its followers, especially its clergy. Talking about striking a balance between one’s ministry and one’s family can sound blasphemous and un-Christian. Many clergy marriages and families have collapsed from lack of balance and failure to prioritize family. I think it’s been largely due to women’s entrance into ministry in large numbers that the discussion of balance has become a hot topic in ministry. When clergy was largely a male profession, there was less focus on this topic. Men were expected to sacrifice their families to their professions (e.g., ministry, law, medicine, politics, academy, business).

A woman who shows a willingness to sacrifice family and personal life to her profession is an oddity. Thankfully, there have been lots of women who have NOT wanted to sacrifice their personal lives for their professions. Hence, they have pushed their professions (e.g., church, corporations, universities) to rethink their expectations. Those of us in ministry are left to look to the examples of women in other professions to help us articulate our positions on matters of healthy boundaries in the work place, which include vacations, privacy, just compensation, and rest. I think we still have a lot of educating to do. We need to be educated as to our “rights” as working mothers, as single women with personal lives, and our responsibilities in God’s sight to our

sbc.net

Luther King, Jr.

Rev. Renita J. Weems, PhD

selves as human beings. We have to ask ourselves and those we work for: “Since when did being successful mean not having a personal life?” The biggest challenge for women in ministry in particular, women in nonconventional professions in general, is not just a matter of trying to figure out how to strike a balance between their home and work lives. Our biggest headache and heartache is trying to figure out how to and whether it’s possible to work unconventionally and love conventionally. What do I mean? We work in professions where we are smart, thinking, articulate, aggressive, hardworking, talented and leaders, and we go home to relationships where we are expected to be silent, compliant, give more than others, and self-sacrificing. That’s what we’re trying to balance: fulfillment at work with less than fulfilling personal relationships. That’s why it’s so hard. Marriage even to a progressive thinking man is hard, because marriage is hard. Marriage to a man who finds your strengths and talents intimidating is exhausting and cruel. I encourage single women to marry a man who doesn’t expect or ask you to dumb down. If he’s hard to find and you settle, then don’t be shocked when you find that you’re constantly having to pretend at home to be someone less than you really are. Rev. Renita J. Weems, Ph.D. is a noted author, scholar, preacher, teacher, wife and mother who resides in Nashville, Tennessee. Please visit her eJournal at www.somethingwithin.com.

January 15, 2010 “I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.”


7

A Fresh Word News - December 2009

u here I come (cont’from page 3) Jesus was born, placed in manger. Who really knew? Apparently, no one. An angel woke up some shepherds to tell them news. Some wise men were intrigued by a strange star and followed it. But apart from these unlikely guests at the manger, no one else really seemed to notice Christmas #1. Jesus came, and though many had been waiting for him, few noticed his arrival. The first Christmas might have been easy to miss. But the subsequent ones in our lifetimes are practically impossible to overlook. And Jesus said he’s coming again. Revelation 22. He said it’s soon. Behold, I am coming soon! (Revelation 22:7, 12) Yes, I am coming soon! (Revelation 22:20) Here’s a question I pose to you today: Have we done more to prepare for the celebration of a past event than we have to prepare for His future coming? In other words do our efforts to observe and remember his first coming surpass our attention to the details of being ready for Him to come again? The stakes are much higher for this preparation. Some of us might have a better idea of how to prepare for a great Christmas celebration than we do for how to prepare for Him to suddenly appear today. After all, Christmas preparations, if you boil them down, are pretty basic: decorate, purchase and wrap the gifts, make plans with the family, attend a church service, cook or cater, clean up. I know there are many other exciting nuances that make Christmas far more elaborate and far more busy. But really, you and I would essentially be ready for Christmas if we just gave attention to those things. And even if we’re not ready, Christmas is still going to come. transition: There some basics to keep in mind for a person who wants to be fully prepared for Jesus to return. I. We should be alert and watchful. Sometimes at Christmas we are alert and watch for sales. We receive wish lists and we watch the ads for good deals. As of Friday night, ABC News was reporting that this year’s Christmas retail sales were only up 5% over last year’s – the smallest increase in 3 years. To help bring in more revenue, K-Mart boldly pledged to stay open 36 hours straight until midnight tonight. There’s still time to be prepared, because we know Christmas is coming soon. Being alert and watchful helps us get ready to observe an event that has already taken place. But

news

local

Jesus said, that to be ready for him to come again, this is also what we should do…Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. (Matthew 24:42) Christmas is December 25 every year. Easy to keep track of. What day will Jesus return? We don’t know. The key is to be watchful and alert all the time. Constant attention needs to be given all the time, because it could be any moment. After all, Jesus said it would be soon. Ready or not. TRANSITION: Which leads us to the second item to keep in mind…If we’re going to be fully prepared for Jesus to return… II. We should be motivated to live godly lives. The Apostle Peter makes it very clear…You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. (2 Peter 3:11-12) At Christmas children are told they shouldn’t be bad or they’ll get coal in their stocking. The prospect of Santa coming soon spurs them on toward good behavior. The prospect of Jesus coming back has a lot more on the line than candy or coal in a stocking. We’re talking eternity. Heaven and Hell. So we ought to live holy and godly lives. Don’t get too attached to this world. It’s not home – we’re just a passin’ through. Peter refers to us as aliens and strangers here. People whose citizenship is in heaven. That means if there are things we are practicing now that we wouldn’t if we were sure today was judgment day – we need to change them SEE here I Come, pg. 15


news

local

A Fresh Word News - December 2009

8

The Forty-Day Journey Ends in Victory By Kevin Roberson Contributing Writer

S

Youth in Praise

Dr. Troy Dockery, Pastor Greater Christ Temple

Pastor Bryan Harris Vallejo, California

Youth in Praise

tockton - - The Greater Christ Temple Youth Ministry of Stockton, California embarked on a 40-day, spirit-filled journey that climaxed with a weekend of purpose, praise and worship. Senior Pastor Dr. Troy Dockery encouraged his youth department to take this 40-day journey so that they may be in power to overcome the fiery darts of the enemy that comes to steal, kill and to destroy purpose. “I think tonight’s service was powerful and great for young people ,”said Jeff Strickland “because we struggle with a lot of issues.” He goes on to say, “The book, 40 Days of Purpose, let us know that it’s not about us, but about God and that he has a purpose for our lives if we just surrender to him. We can make it!” It’s Not About You, but It’s About Jesus, Growing Through Temptation, Fellowship with God, Obedience and Trust, Unwrapping my Spiritual Gifts, and God in Me were some of the courses taught just to name a few. Pastor Bryan Harris of Vallejo, California ministered Saturday night under the anointing of the Holy Ghost. His subject -- I Was Made for This --charged the room with victory. As young men and women lifted their hands crying out to God, saying “I was made for this,” and thanking him for the victory. Rick Warren’s book, A Purpose Driven Life, has been embraced by many churches and businesses across America as a course or resource for individual improvement through God by faith.

On a personal note, I would like to celebrate each and every individual who embarked upon this journey of purpose and to say to you that through Christ all things are possible.

Showers of Blessings C G C hurch of

od in

hrist

3836 48th Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95823 916.391.9833 Dr. Darrell Thomas, Pastor

Join Us for Worship Service

Sunday Mornings - 8 AM & 11 AM Sunday School - 9:30 AM Sunday Evenings - 6PM

Every Wednesday Night Bible Study - 7PM (New members are encouraged to attend)


9

A Fresh Word News - December 2009

A Church Without Walls

I

Dr. Darryl R. Fair, Pastorof Renaissance Christian Center

n December of 1960, I was called into the ministry and for forty years. I ignored that calling. While I had been in and around the church all of my life, I had never tried to formulate any personal religious beliefs. In fact I had never read our church doctrine. I simply attended the denomination that my parents were members of. If it was good enough for them for over 50 years, it was good enough for me. The year 2000 was when I finally accepted Christ in my life. Four years later, I was asked to be the Superintendent of Sunday School at my local church. I did not feel adequately prepared to accept the position, so I decided to take some classes at a local seminary to provide me with some of the basics.

Several months later, I began my academic pursuit at Fuller Theological Seminary in Menlo Park, CA. Attending seminary was a tremendous eye opener for me. I was now being challenged to discover who I was and where I was going theologically. While all of the classes were great my favorites were the Pastoral classes. While attending a seminary, my wife and I were led to minister to a number of homeless shelters in the Bay Area. Our main focus was with City Team – Oakland and San Jose. We also ministered at halfway houses, sporting events, near the exits of government buildings, on busy street corners and door to door. I enjoy meeting and greeting people which enables a sharing of the Good News. In 2006 the Holy Spirit spoke to me and indicated that it was time to start incubating a new type of church. I assembled a support team whose purpose was to pray for us as we began to proceed down this divinely inspired path. This team includes professors, Pastors, graduate students and lay church leaders. God placed on my heart to plant Renaissance Christian Center in Modesto, California. Renaissance Christian Center (RenCen) is a non-denominational, cross cultural, multi-ethnic and transgenerational church without walls. We meet at the Cesar Chavez Park in Modesto whether the temperature is 55o or 105o. Most of the members are homeless, jobless and some are exoffenders. Others have substance abuse issues and a few have mental health problems. They are the disenfranchised people that Jesus referred to in Matthew 25:41. Our community is a cross section of Caucasian, Hispanic, Black and Asian. Renaissance Christian Center, ministers to our community both naturally and spiritually. Spiritually we provide an environment that is conducive to leading them to Christ either through the preached word on Sunday morning or through the taught word at the Wednesday afternoon Bible Study. We provide bags of groceries after each worship service. By the end of the year we will have served over 3,000

news bags of groceries. Last year from July to December 2008, my wife and I prepared and served over 1,200 home cooked meals following the Sunday morning services. In addition to ministering in Cesar Chavez Park, we volunteer twice a month at the Modesto Gospel Mission (MGM). Every 3rd Thursday of the month, we minister to 85-120 men and every 3rd Sunday of the month we minister to 2530 women. MGM is one of the homeless shelters located in Modesto. Not only to have we ministered spiritually we also minister naturally by providing information that will assist in the area of jobs, health and housing. We are a Matthew 25:35-36 church, “... I was hungry, and you gave Me something

local

The Church Attendees

to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.�


words

of wisdom

A Fresh Word News - December 2009

10

The Man Who Missed Christmas Submitted by Darlene Roberson

When I get to heaven, I shall see three wonders there. The first wonder will be to see many there whom I did not expect to see; the second wonder will be to miss many people who I did expect to see; and the third and greatest of all will be to find myself there. - John Newton -

Sometime back, a well-know magazine told the story of a guy named George Mason. His life was consumed by his work. He lived alone, which only contributed to his work addiction. Although he had few friends, each Christmas he received several invitations to spend Christmas Day with a family. He always declined the offers. This particular Christmas was no exception. On Christmas Eve, after all his employees left, George Mason went into the office vault to get a little extra cash. To his shock, the heavy door of the walk-in safe shut behind him. Desperately, he pounded on the steel door, but no one was around to hear. Even the custodian had left early to do some last-minute Christmas shopping. The lonely miser consoled himself, “I can make it alright until morning.” But suddenly he recalled, the next day was Christmas. No one would be coming in for TWO DAYS. He panicked as he tried to figure out if there would be sufficient oxygen. Then he remembered: The vault had recently been installed and was supposed to have a safety air-hole built in somewhere. He felt around in the dark and eventually

found the emergency feature in a corner near the floor. On the day after Christmas, early in the morning, the chief cashier arrived. As was his routine, he unlocked the vault but didn’t bother opening the door. George Mason, exhausted, faint, hungry, and thirsty, exited the human-size safe without being spotted. And by the time he went home, showered, dressed, and returned to the office, no one suspected a thing. Life went on as usual - except for one thing: George Mason had missed Christmas. Can you believe it? He missed Christmas because the door to the safe closed on him. He’s the only person I’ve ever heard of who had that happen. But do you know what is more common? People who “miss” Christmas year after year. You understand what I mean by that, don’t you? People who buy and receive presents and decorate their homes and trees and make an appearance at the appropriate number of parties and church programs, but who miss the opportunity to savor the splendor and contemplate the mystery of God’s love made visible.

?

Did You Know The seven archangels are named Michael, Gabriel, Jophiel, Raphael, Uriel, Chamuel, and Zadkiel


11

A Fresh Word News - December 2009

testimonies

of faith

If you have a burning testimony that you would like to share with us, submit your request to: A Fresh Word News, P.O. Box 4153, Modesto, CA 95352 or email us at afreshwordnews@sbcblobal. net.

Are you worthy? For years, I “thought” I was saved. Then I went to Community Baptist Church and heard Brother Eddie preach. And, boy, can he preach! He doesn’t pull any punches! His motto is…Hell is hot and sin ain’t right! So there I was, watching this crazy preacher jump around and shout, thinking, “I’m ok, I’m saved.” Well, being Christmas night, he informs us that we will be observing the Lord’s Supper. So I’m thinking, “Yeah, I remember this. We did this when I was a kid. Oyster crackers and grape juice.” Then he pulls the rug out from under me. God uses this moment in time to thump me right between the eyes. Brother Eddie starts talking about how you’re not supposed to partake if you’re unworthy. And I realized that I was about as unworthy as they come. In fact, I was lost and on my way to hell. Needless to say, when the grape juice and crackers came my way, I refused. Then after the service, he had the standard altar call. BUT. I couldn’t go down. I mean I. COULD. NOT. MOVE. Now I’m thinking, “Oh man, I’m gonna miss it, I’m too scared to go down there!” when Brother Eddie does something that astounds me. To this day, I believe it was just for me. He says, “With every head bowed, every eye closed, lost person will you just slip your hand up. Just raise your hand.” WELL. You better believe, I raised my hand! So then everyone goes outside, except for Blue, Brother Eddie, and me. We all go down to the altar and pray and I receive Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior! At first, I was worried that people would think I planned it, you know, getting saved on Christmas day. But now, I know, it was God’s gift to me, the best Christmas gift ever! Thank you, Lord.

Christmas Gift Suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness To your opponent, tolerance To a friend, your heart To a customer, service To all, charity To every child, a good example To yourself, respect.

A Christmas Testimony “It was the strangest feeling. I was walking in the store. Here it was Christmas Eve, all full of people, and I felt like I was all alone in the universe.”

This year, Deborah and Clayton Bryant are having an extra special Christmas. That’s because they get to celebrate it together with their new granddaughter. But in 1988, Christmas wasn’t a time for celebration. They married in 1983. Both had children from their first marriages and hoped this time they could make it work. Deborah says, “When things were good, he treated me like a queen. I never had that before. Anything I wanted, anything I wanted to do. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was really bad.” Clayton had a short fuse, and his temper could erupt without notice. At first, Deborah held it in. “It built up and built up and I let loose,” Deborah says, “and I would be just about as bad as he was at times. Throwing things, angry.” Financial pressures and tensions within their blended family added more stress to their already strained marriage. Clayton says, “I thought we had anger issues going on between the kids, and financially we were always stretched.” In 1988, it all fell apart. Clayton’s parents sold the family’s metal fabrication business. Clayton ended up without a job. “I probably resented the fact that I was unemployed and things like that,” he explains. The fighting got worse. The pressure to make the money now fell on Deborah. She says, “I felt sorry for him, but at the same time, I just couldn’t deal with everything else that was going on. The stress with the kids just emotionally was just too much.” Then two weeks before Christmas, Deborah took the kids, the furniture and left her husband. “Once everything was moved out of the house, we stood in the basement and hugged each other,” Deborah says. “That was the end of it.” Then Christmas came. Clayton was broke and alone. “Christmas Eve, I went to town, went into a department store and wanted to pick up a couple of small gifts for the kids,” Clayton recalls. “It was the strangest feeling. I was walking in the store. Here it was Christmas Eve, all full of people, and I felt like I was all alone in the universe.” Clayton had hit bottom. He realized he needed to reach out to God. He says, “They say there aren’t too many atheists in a foxhole, so I said a prayer every night for the marriage to work out. It wasn’t happening.” As the months passed, Clayton found work, and Deborah filed for divorce. Less than a week before the divorce would become final, Clayton gave up hope on his marriage. Clayton says, “That night I changed my prayer. I said, ‘Lord, I just pray that my wife would find happiness.’ Less than hour later, she called me on the phone and said, ‘We gotta work this out.’ I couldn’t believe it.” What Clayton didn’t know was that Deborah had also reached out to God. One night I don’t even know why,” Deborah says, “I guess I had been doing a lot of soul searching. God must have been speaking to me, because I just totally broke down and cried out to Him. I asked Him to come into my life and forgive me for all the things I had done wrong. I thought, ‘I really want to make my marriage work,’ as crazy as it sounded then.” Deborah moved back in, and they started going to church. Eventually, both of them accepted Christ as their Savior. It wasn’t easy rebuilding their marriage, but they weren’t alone. Deborah says, “The Lord did it. I could never have done it on my own. I don’t see how anyone else could do it on their own either. The Lord gave me the strength to forget all the hurt that I had and just concentrate on doing what He wanted me to do. That’s what I did with His strength.” Clayton went into business for himself as a blacksmith. His specialty is candelabras, and he’s been at it now for 15 years. The couple admits their marriage isn’t perfect. But through God’s grace, much has been forgiven and many wounds have healed. “There’s always hope in Jesus,” Clayton says. “He can do miracles. He can. If He put my marriage back together, He can do it for anybody.” Deborah concurs, “He gives us that bond that keeps you together. There is hope. There really is hope.”


entertaiment News

A Fresh Word News - December 2009

12

Gallo Center for the Arts (Sat 3/20/2010 7:30PM) - Mary Stuart Rogers Theater - - The Harlem Gospel Choir has shared its message of love and inspiration with hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Through its dynamic performances the choir strive to create a better understanding of the African American culture and the inspirational music called Gospel as it related to the Black Church. The theme of every performance is “bringing people and nations together and giving something back.”

Come take a trip on a railroad like no other you’ve ever seen. It is the famed Underground Railroad of the nineteenth century, traveled by countless African-American slaves on their perilous exodus from bondage to freedom. A Christmas Journey to Freedom will give you and your family a whole new perspective on the glorious hope of the gospel, seen through the eyes of a people who deeply related to the lowliness, the suffering, and the liberating power of Jesus. In this unforgettable 3 part Day of Discovery DVD, acclaimed vocalist Wintley Phipps and actress Gwendolyn Briley-Strand reenact the true story of Joe, a slave who flees his Southern plantation on Christmas, and guided by the Moses like figure of Harriet Tubman makes his way through the Underground Railroad to freedom in Canada. Featuring musical selections such as O Holy Night and Sweet Little Jesus Boy sung by Wintley and commentary by historian Dr. Allen Callahan, A Christmas Journey to Freedom is a powerful drama that will stir your soul and enrich your faith both at Christmas and at any time of the year.


13

A Fresh Word News - December 2009

Across

1 Jesus’ birthplace 5 Herod slew the children of this age and under 8 Peter quoted his words on the day of Pentecost 9 “A ___ shaken with the wind” 10 “Ye shall find ___ babe wrapped in swaddling clothes” 12 The year from Jesus’ birth 14 Anna was of this tribe (as recorded in Luke) 15 “Behold, a ___ shall be with child” 20 “Fruits ___ for repentance” 21 The wise men came from here 22 “He shall reign of the house of ___ for ever” 23 A female ancestor of Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 1 25 The amount of manna to be gathered per person 27 He multiplied the widow’s oil 30 “As soon as the voice of thy salvation sounded in mine ___” 32 An altar meaning witness (Joshua 22) 33 To increase 35 Malarial fever 36 To guide 38 There was no room here 39 These men went to see the baby Jesus

Scrambled Bible Names

Can you figure out these Bible names by rearranging the letters?

Jaileh _ _ _ _ _ _ Henteps _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Ulpa _ _ _ _ Bamhara _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Lisas _ _ _ _ _ Anho _ _ _ _ Raash _ _ _ _ _ Nana _ _ _ _ Ossem _ _ _ _ _ Utist _ _ _ _ _

on the lighter side

Christmas Crossword

Solution “Don’t cheat!”

Quit griping about your church; if it were perfect, you couldn’t belong.

Down

1 “Mary, of whom was ___ Jesus” (4) 2 Jesus’ age when he was taken to Jerusalem (6) 3 Jesus did not do this in the wildnerness (3) 4 Adam’s wife (3) 5 “Mary was espoused ___ Joseph” (2) 6 “They that ___ soft clothing are in kings’ houses” (4) 7 Zacharias said, “I am an ___ man” (3) 8 Grandson of 23 (5) 11 A place near Bethel (3) 13 “A pair of turtledoves ___ two young pigeons” (2) 16 “That ___ might be fulfilled” (2) 17 “The ___ of God was upon him” (5) 18 Mother-in-law of 23 (5) 19 This went before the wise men (4) 20 The mother of Jesus (4) 24 He was king at the time of Jesus’ birth (5) 25 “___ that one would hear me!” (2) 26 Jesus was laid in this (6) 28 The spirit did this to Jesus in the wilderness (3) 29 Thus (2) 30 The first garden (4) 31 “Where is he that is born king of the ___?” (4) 32 A priest in the time of Samuel (3) 33 A tree of the olive family (3) 34 To put into water (3) 37 “___ angel of the Lord appeareth” (2)

Answer 1. Elijah; 2. Stephen; 3. Paul; 4. Abraham 5. Silas; 6. Noah; 7. Sarah; 8. Anna;9. Moses; 10. Titus


Church & Business Directory Grace Community Church

New Beginnings Tabernacle of Life

Sunday School 10:00 A.M.

“As long as I have life, I have a chance.”

Bishop David J. McNeir, Pastor

600B “F” Street Modesto, CA 95357 Phone: (209) 403-2864

Clarence E. Church, Pastor Cheryle Church, Co-Pastor

New Life Community Church Elder Delford Moore, Pastor

Sunday Services Sunday School - 9:45 am Morning Service - 11:00am Y.P.W.W. - 7:00pm

Weekday Services Tuesday Bible Study - 7:00pm Friday Night Worship - 7:00pm

Noon Prayer Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1250 Overland Ave. • Los Banos, CA 93635 Phone: (209) 827-1605

Give God the Praise!

230 Oak Street Modesto, CA 95351 Phone: (209) 521-7130

Prayer Mission

Church of God in Christ Come join us again in Worship and Praise of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

Pastor and Sister Peoples

Sundays 9:30 a.m., 11a.m., 7 p.m. Tuesdays 7 p.m. (christian enrichment class) Fridays 7 p.m. (praise and teaching)

600B “F” Street Modesto, CA 95357

Sunday Service 11:00 a.m.

SWorship eed of Joy Center Elder Archie LeVias, Jr, Pastor 536 Kiernan Avenue * Modesto, CA 95356 Sundays - 9:00 AM - Morning Prayer - 9:30 AM - Christian Growth Hour - 10:45 AM - Morning Worship - 10:45 AM - Children’s Church - 6:00 PM - Sunday Night Joy (2nd, 3rd, 4th Sunday Nights)

Ministry of Christ Your Soul is Very Important to Me

Apostle M.C. Lewis, Pastor 2540 Yosemite Blvd. Suite C Modesto, CA 95352 (209) 572-1796 (church) (209) 572-0369 (fax) e-mail apostlelewis@comcast.net

Modesto Christian Center

Pastor Jesse Stovall

1644 Dewitt Road Modesto, CA 95357 Phone: (209) 526-2174 Church Offc. (209) 551-3512

Sunday Services Sunday School - 9:30am Morning Service - 11:00am Evening Service - 6:00pm Weekday Services Tuesday Awana Sept-May Wednesday Bible Study - 7:00pm

This space is reserved just for you.


etc., u audio

etcetera

the Year for 2008 by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association, the first audio Bible to receive the award. It has sold more than 700,000 copies. And while it was selling, Cerny & Co. kept working. “It feels like my entire career has been preparation for this project,” says Cerny. As an actor, Cerny has appeared in or been the voice behind more than 3,000 commercials. He has been on local stages, appeared in print ads and on billboards, acted in corporate training films and had small parts in feature films. He has written and directed plays. He wrote a lively little guide to professional acting titled I Could Have Been a Cab Driver . . . But I Became an Actor Instead. Of his most famous work, Cerny says, “(the Doughboy, aka Poppin’ Fresh) is warm, cute and just a likable guy. My job is to try and help keep him that way.” In 1987, Advertising Age magazine called the Doughboy America’s mostloved character. ‘A Huge Mountain To Climb’ Cerny estimates that there are 3,600 characters in the Bible, “but thank goodness not all of them speak.” As the director of the more than 600 speaking parts, Cerny saw his mission as one that “turns these characters into real characters, have them played with full emotion, with context. To put these in the moment in time when these words were first spoken.” To do this he was in frequent consultation with theologians and linguists, reading and re-reading the Bible, “trying to bring these passages, these people to life.”

A Fresh Word News - December 2009

u here I come

“I was scared to death I might make a mistake, maybe with issues of translation,” he says. “This was a huge mountain to climb.” Most of the roles were recorded in Cerny’s Illinois Street studios. There were seven other venues, in places such as Nashville, Los Angeles and Italy. All of the sound effects were created in Chicago, using high-tech equipment and some unusual items: The plague of the frogs in Exodus was accomplished by having raw chicken breasts thrown against a cement slab. “Carl and JoBe (approached this) with a seriousness and a passion that . . . is admirable,” said Jason Alexander, who plays Joseph, in an interview with Black Christian News. “They (were) engaging, thoughtful and truly professional.” And so it has ended, after 6,000 hours of studio time, more than 175,000 takes, thousands more hours of mixing and editing. Craig Lee was there for all of it. He was the head sound engineer for this project and for the hundreds of other less time-consuming chores for movie companies and advertising clients that he has worked on during his 15 years with Cerny. “When we first started, it was a little scary,” he says. “I was in awe of this project. We just plugged away, day by day. It’s been a very meaningful experience.” Cerny nibbled another doughnut before saying, “The days were sometimes endless. It was an honor for me to be asked to dig deep enough to make this happen. I knew it was in me somewhere.”

today. How would you want Jesus to find you on the day He returns? Would you like to: Be less tied to materialism Deeper tied to Him through prayer Would you like to: Put an end to that secret little habit. Be passionately about sharing your faith However that is, start living that way now. Make preparations. We don’t know the day, but He’s coming soon. TRANSITION: Third, if we’re to be prepared for Jesus to come… III. We should encourage each other. At this time of year we say, “Merry Christmas” a lot. We encourage each other to have a nice holiday celebration. Christmas is coming soon, hope you have a good one. Christians can do the same as we prepare for Jesus’ 2nd coming. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18) But let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:25) Seek one another out. Pat one another on the back. Remind each other – Jesus is coming. Hang in there. It’s not much longer. Hang on to Jesus. Keep up the good work. He’s coming soon. Encourage each other. We shouldn’t bring each other down. We should feel free to express our

looking for information about God. On a daily basis, around two million people look for God. “This is an historic event only possible by God’s power,” said GMO founder and chair Walt Wilson. But both Fischer-Nielsen and GMO agree that the Internet does not take the place of church communities. The scholar and ministry support connecting people who make the decision for Christ to discipleship programs or to local churches.

“These online communities are not a replacement to traditional physical congregations, but a supplement,” says Fischer-Nielsen, who also acknowledges that in some cases they are the only Christian communities for people who would be in danger if others knew of their faith commitment. The Danish scholar concluded, “The Internet has come to stay and the Church must continually be in dialogue concerning how the Internet can be used to serve its mission.”

u internet Global Media Outreach is among the success stories, having harnessed the Internet to create a volunteer force of thousands of online missionaries. In July, GMO announced that over 1 million people indicated a first-time decision to follow Jesus or a decision to recommit their life to Christ through one of more than 90 GMO-hosted Gospel Web sites since its inception in 2004. The media ministry estimates that 1 in 1,000 Internet searchers is

15

hope in the return of Jesus to other Christians. TRANSITION: Lastly, if we’re going to be ready for Jesus to return… IV. We should perservere. Illus – In some ways this has been a tough Christmas. The snow and the extreme cold have made our usual preparations a bit more difficult. The traffic getting out of Yorktown and Oak Brook Malls. The traffic on Butterfield. Yikes! And there is a lot to get done for Christmas. Come home exhausted from shopping, fighting traffic, driving in this horrible weather – but you got it done. You persevered. Now you’re ready to celebrate. Listen to what Paul tells Timothy about the Christian life. Fight the good fight of the faith… I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Timothy 6:12, 14) Persevere. Don’t give up. You’ll be tempted to think, it’s not worth it. You’ll be tempted to think, Jesus isn’t coming back. You’ll be tempted to turn away. You’ll be tempted to take your eyes off of Jesus while you wait. You’ll be tempted to make a compromise here or there because it’s been a long time already, and Jesus hasn’t come yet. But don’t give in to those temptations. Persevere. What’s the best strategy for life-long perseverance? Remember that He’s coming soon! TRANSITION: Those are the basics – to be prepared for the return of Jesus. Oh, if only I had been ready tonight. In the words of this poem the meaning is clear; The coming of Jesus is drawing near. There’s only one life and when comes the last call We’ll find that the Bible was true after all! It’s never too early to start getting ready. Because even if we’re not fully prepared, Christmas is almost here. Similar to Christmas, Jesus is still coming! If he said it was soon 2000 years ago, think of how soon it must really be now!


(209) 543-9100 afreshwordnews@sbcglobal.net

A Fresh Word News  

A Modesto Newspaper

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you